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Sri Lanka
17.12.01
Urgent Interventions

Sri Lanka: killing of ten supporters of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), as a result of parliamentary elections

Case LKA 171201
Extrajudicial killing


The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Sri Lanka.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Asian Human Rights Commission of the killing of ten supporters of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), in Sri Lanka’s Katugastota district, following recent parliamentary elections.

According to the information received, at around 5:30pm on December 5th, 2001, ten SLMC supporters escorted election officials who were transporting a ballot box from the Madawala polls in the Katugastota district to the counting centre in Kandy. En route, a “thug squad” allegedly under control of Lohan Ratwatte, the son of the former Peoples’ Alliance’s (PA) Deputy Defence Minister Anurudda Ratwatte, ran the vehicle off the road, where it crashed into a lamppost. The perpetrators subsequently approached the vehicle, opened the doors, and shot the ten SLMC supporters at point blank range, before fleeing the scene. The names and ages of the ten supporters are:

1. T. M. Fisar (24)
2. F.M. Rizwan (27)
3. M.R.M. Nazir (25)
4. A.M.M. Mohideen (31)
5. A.M.Milsar (23)
6. Z.M. Nazar (19)
7. M.I.M. Ashwar (26)
8. M. Riswan (23)
9. I.M.I. Fasar Yahamod (25)
10.M. Mohamad (25)

According to the information received, high standing representatives within the SLMC, along with other civil society organizations, have also publicly alleged that Lohan Ratwatte is responsible for these killings. During the October 2000 General Election, Mr. Ratwatte was also accused of similar mass scale voter intimidation and ballot rigging.

According to the information received, following the December 7th confirmation of the United National Party as the new government, Lohan Ratwatte reportedly fled the Island with his wife and two children, as his father, Anuruddha Ratwatte, had lost his seat in the Kandy district.

The International Secretariat of OMCT is deeply concerned by these killings as they appear to have been conducted primarily for political reasons. More generally, OMCT is gravely concerned about the continuing trend of voter intimidation and murder during elections in Sri Lanka.

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Sri Lanka urging them to:

i. guarantee adequate restitution, and compensation to the families of the ten SLMC supporters killed;
ii. order a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances of these killings in order to identify those responsible, bring them to trial and apply the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;
iii. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

Addresses

· Her Excellency President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, President's House, Colombo 3, Sri Lanka. Fax No 00 94 1 333703
E-mails: for_min@sri.lanka.net

· Prime Minister Honorable Sirimavo Bandaranaike 58, Sir Earnest de Silva Mawatha, Colombo 7. Sri Lanka. Fax No 00 94 1575454

· Honourable Lakshman Jayakody, Minister of Cultural and Religious Affairs, 8th Floor, Sethsiripaya, Battaramulla.Sri Lanka. Fax No 00 94 1872035

· Honorable Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, 37, Kirula Place, Colombo 5. Sri Lanka. Fax No 00 94 1 437680

· Inspector General of Police, Police Headquarters, New Secretariat, Colombo 1, Sri Lanka

· Hon. Ambassador, Permanent Mission and Consulate General of Sri Lanka, 56, Rue De Moillebeau, 5th Floor, 1 209, Geneva 19, Switzerland, Fax: (41-22) 734 9084, E-mail: mission.srilanka@itu.ch

· Hon. High-Commissioner, The High Commission of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka 13 Hyde Park Gardens London W2 2LU United Kingdom Fax: (0171) 262-7970, E-mail: lancom@easynet.co.uk



Please also write to the embassies of Sri Lanka in your respective country.

Geneva, December 17, 2001

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
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